Mental health workers start weeklong strike in California

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Thousands of Kaiser Permanente mental health professionals throughout California started a weeklong strike Monday to protest what they say is a lack of staffing that affects care.

National Union of Healthcare Workers says 4,000 psychologists, therapists, social workers, psychiatric nurses and other medical professionals will picket through Friday.

Union president Sal Rosselli tells the East Bay Times patients have to wait a month or more for follow-up mental health appointments because of low staffing levels. He says Kaiser needs to hire hundreds more clinicians.

Kaiser’s chief nurse executive Michelle Gaskill-Hames says the walkout is not about better care but to push for higher wages.

Kaiser says its medical centers will remain open during the strike. Some mental health care appointments during the week may be canceled.

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Information from: East Bay Times, http://www.eastbaytimes.com

Categories: California News